Stained Glass “Abbey”: Photoshoot with COTC Photography

I had the extreme good fortune to meet photographer John Spectre while I was at at Gaslight Fantasia in South Carolina.  He was attending the event and capturing photos of some of the participants.  I was flattered when he expressed interest in photographing the Abbey costume there at the hotel. We found a cool mosaic alcove at the host hotel and John took the needed time to set up some really cool shots. Here’s some of the images from that day.

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got the chance to meet again at AnachroCon some months later where he brought a ring flash and more cool camera equipment along.  These “dark” images of Abbey  (below) reveal SO MUCH more of the costume’s detail!  John’s crafting of these images just leaves me floored.

John has since gone on to craft some of the most amazing cosplay photography I’ve seen in a while through his COTC Photography venture. I’m just one of his grateful photography subjects – his portfolio is exploding!  If you’d like to see more, you can find John’s photography through his Facebook page, COTC Photography.  Recommended viewing!

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Keep up with CostumeArtist appearances and more WIP projects through CostumeArt on Facebook and @CostumeArt on Twitter. I’d love to see you there!

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The Stained Glass Costume Project: “Abbey” at DragonCon

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Starting with a stack of thrift store coloring books, the “Abbey” costume project is easily the most labor-intensive and difficult task I’ve taken on.  So much…coloring. Seriously, I colored like manic five-year-old for weeks. Now, just the sight of a child’s crayon-ready placemat at Denny’s gives me the shivers.

Inspired by the outsized world of Warhammer 40K Adeptus Ministorum and influenced by Art Nouveau style, this costume evolved with my traditional tool kit of thrift store elements, no-sew shortcuts… tiny investement but lots of persistence.  It’s worth noting that I actually measured some things for this project (with a real measuring tape), which I consider a significant leap forward on my “things I can do” list. I’ll be posting the build background on the “Abbey” project pretty soon.

Abbey stepped out for the first time at DragonCon in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend.  And I had a fantastic time with this costume!  Convention-goers, friends and photographers were very kind – and happily, there’s a pretty good photo record from the event of her progress. The following images are Convention photos taken at DragonCon and I’m especially grateful to the photographers credited here (pros and amateurs alike!). Thank you to everyone who took a minute talk with me and help preserve the memories!

Photo by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Photo by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

 

Photo by Angry Dog Studios | DragonCon 2014

Photo by Angry Dog Studios | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Jessica Stansel | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner

Photography by Jessica Stansel | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner

Photography by David Leo | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner (with Doctor Q)

Photography by David Leo | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner (with Doctor Q)

Photography  by Thomas John Spanos | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Thomas John Spanos | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Steampunk: The Exquisite Adventure | Scotsdale Public Art

Steampunk Exquisite Adventure Scotsdale AZI had the distinct pleasure of meeting curator Susin Rubin at Comic-Con International in San Diego this summer.  She found me sometime after my Steampunk panel, and was very complimentary of both my costuming work…and curious about the notion that I didn’t sew.

Susan was representing Scotsdale Public Art which was presenting a large exhibition called “Steampunk: The Exquisite Adventure” – and as such, invited my participation.  I was honored and very excited about the potential.  They were also very impressed with the talented photographers whose skilled eyes capture my projects to best advantage – and requested images of additional costuming to be framed and shown alongside one of my costumes and gear. The photography of Dim Horizon Studio was selected by SPA to accompany my static exhibit.

Together SPA and I elected to exhibit “Tornado Jane” as a strong example of re-purposing salvaged materials. Tornado Jane was constructed using storm debris from the tornado that savaged the Birmingham, Alabama area in April 2011. (NOTE: the debris was collected with permission and care at the home site of my friend Stephanie who lost everything but her life that day.)

"Tornado Jane": Constructed using debris collected in the wake of the April 2011 tornado that savaged Pleasant Grove, Alabama.

“Tornado Jane”: Constructed using debris collected in the wake of the April 2011 tornado that savaged Pleasant Grove, Alabama.

Scotsdale Public Art had a highly professional method in place to collect and curate various Steampunk-inspired work from as far away at the British Isles.  They were patient and practiced throughout the run-up and opening of the event. They even took time to text me images of my own work being assembled at the venue.

While I missed the October exhibition opening due to distance (Arizona is FAR!), I enjoyed the images and online coverage from the event, marveling at the other artists’ creations and vision. I connected with many of these artists through the only means at my disposal – social media!  Even long distance, I was in the finest company.

In December, I received a call from one of the event curators who was very dismayed to report that my particular exhibit had been tampered with and parts of it stolen. Part of the headpiece had been taken and some of the handpiece had been dismantled and stolen. They were so upset and seemed gravely concerned about my response to the incident.  They were sending me an incident report for my review and asked me for a dollar value to compensate for the loss.

Truth be told…it doesn’t have real value. I mean, it’s debris that’s been torqued, attached and turned into costume art.  I assured them that I wanted no money for the loss, but rather hoped that they would take a page from my method and look around to see what they could replace the missing parts with.  It suddenly seemed like a fun idea that the work could morph mid-exhibition into a group project – smile!

They seemed deeply embarrassed about the thievery, and I appreciate the feeling of violation the curators and host venue must feel.  But in the end, I’m glad it was my ad hoc, eccentric collection of oddments that was pilfered rather than some of the finely crafted works that are on display there.  Instead of any compensation, I asked only that the event grant their permission and blessing to me as I chose to talk about what happened publicly.  I didn’t want to portray what happened as any kind of failure on the event’s part.  They have been exquisitely careful with all the artists’ work throughout.  This unfortunate theft was just a bizarre exception in an otherwise flawless exhibition.

"Tornado Jane" exhibited with Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

“Tornado Jane” exhibited with Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

But, hey! Someone wanted part of my work badly enough to cross the ropes and do some rather involved deconstruction to get what they wanted.  That’s a STORY right there.  Who was the person who wanted these cast-off and damaged bits so badly? Why take time to disassemble it and steal parts? Why not take more? Why mine? Instead of a standard show, I now have a unique memory – a tale to tell from the show I couldn’t even attend in person.  That’s like gold, y’all. I love a good story, something to think about, a unique experience best of all. Achievement unlocked.

Tornado Jane was taken off exhibit after the incident. And that part does make me sad. I’m hoping that my friends at Scotsdale Public Art have since hit the thrift

store-junk drawer to see if they can replace the missing parts with things THEY think might look good on the costume.  I think it’s in keeping with the whole tornado theme; a community putting things back together after parts of it are damaged or lost.  I hope Tornado Jane can come back strong.  She’s tough. And she’s been through worse.

It has been – in fact – An Exquisite Adventure after all!

PHOTOGRAPHY: “Trolloc” from Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ (#1)

20130216-_MG_4880-Edit-Edit-2385003875-OThis is the first set of images for the Trolloc costume I made for JordanCon 2012. As an uber-fan of the Robert Jordan book series ‘The Wheel of Time’, it was a project that I wanted to attempt for a while.  But it was only when a fellow fan – and master costumer – suggested a group cosplay of Trollocs for JordanCon that I really considered making a run at it.  I knew I had to make it using mostly recycled items, but bits of it would have to be made from scratch (my Kryptonite). Still, I cobbled the Trolloc together, stormed the halls of JordanCon with the group and had an amazing time wearing it.

These images include fellow fan, artist and artisan Paul Bielaczyc of Aradani Studios.  His Trolloc is really a master work. How good was it?  It was so realistic that someone seeing it called the police to the Sopes Creek park where we were doing this photo shoot, and reported that there were – and I quote – “Monsters in the park.”

The Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department arrived (along with another patrol car) in response to the call.  Once they rolled up, they confirmed that the “monsters” were in fact merely harmless, eccentric costumers making pictures in the woods. The police made their own pictures – Evidence, I think – asked us not to eat the hikers, and left with a smile.

My own costume was a serious beta version. My first attempt at a big mask sculpt (using model magic) was a bust – and this Trolloc headpiece no longer exists in its original form, as it deteriorated after a few outings.  Still, Dim Horizon Studio captured it in pictures while it didn’t look too bad. Honestly, they make everything look good.  The images hint at what could be  – a Trolloc build, done right.  It’s on my list.

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Paul Bielaczyc – Foreground

PHOTOGRAPHY: Steampunk Tooth Fairy at the Lyric (#2)

Steampunk TF costume Lyric Birmingham Paige Smith v1

This is the SECOND set of images of the entire Steampunk Tooth Fairy costume and gear, captured by Dim Horizon Studio at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Steampunk-inspired Tooth Fairy is one dark-as-hell vision of a night-time tooth collector who doesn’t always wait for teeth to come out on their own.  She’s equipped with vintage dental tools for extraction, irrigating (and digging when necessary). If she’s feeling especially generous, she can also dispense spirits (via her “swish & rinse”) that may take the edge off her procedure.

Steampunk TF costume Lyric Birmingham Paige Smith u3

Steampunk TF costume Lyric Birmingham Paige Smith t2

Steampunk TF costume Lyric Birmingham Paige Smith s2

Steampunk TF costume Lyric Birmingham Paige Smith p

PHOTOGRAPHY: Siri, A Helpful Communications Assistant (#2)

"Siri Appleton", a costume interpretation of Apple iPhone's 'Siri'

“Siri Appleton”, a costume interpretation of Apple iPhone’s ‘Siri’

This is the SECOND set of images for my costume vision of Siri (the Apple iPhone assistant), captured by Dim Horizon Studio (Atlanta) at the Historic Lyric Fine Arts Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama.  The “Siri” build incorporates old telephone parts, wiring etc., zip ties, along with salvaged hardware, and cast-off clothing. She embodies the punk aspects of what a helpful communications assistant in a more Dieselpunk setting might look like.  These images do not include the (salvaged) fiber optic plug-ins that illuminate the mohawk.

The Lyric Fine Arts Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama is a grand old vaudeville theatre (1912) that has fallen on hard times over recent decades of neglect. With special permission from its conservators, we carefully navigated its interior for this photo shoot.  Peeling lead paint, shedding asbestos, exposed wiring and soft spots in flooring were only a few of the hazards that our team skirted during the shoot.  In spite of her current state of dishevelment, we were all captivated by her lovely bones and her century-old beauty. It’s official. We’re in love with this old lady.

In recent years an energetic group of dedicated saviors have been working to save and restore this architectural masterpiece — with great success. If you would like to contribute to her rescue and repair, please consider donating to the worthy effort at http://lightupthelyric.com/!

 

 

Dieselpunk Siri telephone costume Birmingham Paige Smith h3

 

Dieselpunk Siri telephone costume Birmingham Paige Smith j3

 

Dieselpunk Siri telephone costume Birmingham Paige Smith i3

 

Dieselpunk Siri telephone costume Birmingham Paige Smith g2

 

Dieselpunk Siri telephone costume Birmingham Paige Smith f1

PHOTOGRAPHY: Steampunk Tooth Fairy at the Lyric (#1)

Steampunk TF costume Lyric Birmingham Paige Smith s2The Steampunk-inspired Tooth Fairy is one dark-as-hell vision of a night-time tooth collector who doesn’t always wait for teeth to come out on their own.  She’s equipped with vintage dental tools for extraction, irrigating (and digging when necessary). If she’s feeling especially generous, she can also dispense spirits (via her “swish & rinse”) that may take the edge off her procedure.

These are the first images of the entire Steampunk Tooth Fairy costume and gear, captured by Dim Horizon Studio at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama.

Steampunk Tooth Fairy

Steampunk Tooth Fairy

Steampunk Tooth Fairy

Steampunk Tooth Fairy

Steampunk Tooth Fairy

Steampunk Tooth Fairy